Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Toddlers Learn from Picture Books

Child development experts have long hailed the benefits of reading to infants and toddlers. Research has shown that reading with your child for 20 minutes a day can make a difference in your child’s language, grammar and reading skills as they get older.

However, according to a study recently published in the journal Developmental Psychology, using picture books can provide children as young as 18-months-old with an even greater advantage.

Researchers from University of Queensland and the University of Virginia worked with a group of 18, 24 and 30-month-old children. They discovered that when reading to children as young as 18-months old with books featuring life-like color photographs and then books with illustrations, the toddlers who were read to with photos were able to effectively mimic what they learned.

Parents would read to their babies a book that illustrated how to put a rattle together. The parent would then give the toddler the same equipment featured in the book and ask them to make a rattle.

At 18-months-old, many of the children who were exposed to actual photographs could reproduce the action and build the rattle. They could not perform the actions as well if they had only seen illustrations. Likewise, at 24 and 30 months, toddlers could assemble the rattle if they have been read to with the photographs and they were able to perform well if they had seen realistic color illustrations. They did not perform as well if the books featured black and white drawings. This research demonstrates that even very young children relate to and learn from books depicting life-like images.

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